Book Reviews

Philosophy: The Latest Answers to the Oldest Questions by Nicholas Fearn – Book Review

It is always hard to find an introductory book into philosophy. Either they are mammoths of books or they just don’t do justice to the topic, most of the times they are both. So, I was sceptic when I started reading this book. Though Fearn only covers the last couple of decennia with his book, it still falls short most of the time. Because he has to explain the concepts he tries to address with the help of many recent philosophers, in such a short notice he sometimes explains the term a bit too easily and it loses a bit of nuance. This said, I still think it is worth reading if you want to know the Latest Answers to the Oldest Questions.

            That’s also its plus point. The book doesn’t try to be anything it isn’t. It asks three main questions: Who am I? What can I know? And what should I do? Then he proceeds to ask these questions to many recent philosophers. Fearn has interviewed many of the recent philosophers from Singer to Dennett. These are people you’ll probably won’t find in an history of philosophy, mostly because they aren’t dead yet, and because of this the book is a fresh taste into the current problems of philosophy.

            The book outlines the main views of the movements which are at odds with each other during this day and age. Fearn tries to explain the problem of determinism and compatibilism. He explains postmodernism and pragmatism and even asks the Utilitarian Singer about animal rights.

            In the end, this is a good book for those who want to jump into philosophy and want to know about the current problems of philosophy. For those already familiar with the problems of philosophy, you might want to just go ahead and read the primary literature. Don’t expect to read about a lot of the famous names in the history of philosophy but do expect many names which could be achieving the same status in fifty years.

By elenchusphilosophy

Philosophy student from Ghent, Belgium. I write about what I find interesting which is about nearly anything. Though my guiding question in life is how to be a good person.

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